Cork Covid-19 vaccination centre could have capacity to vaccinate almost 17,000 people a week once operational

Cork Covid-19 vaccination centre could have capacity to vaccinate almost 17,000 people a week once operational

Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO South/South West Hospital Group, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare. 

THE new Covid-19 vaccination centre being prepared at Cork’s City Hall could have the capacity to vaccinate almost 17,000 people weekly when operational.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin visited the city hall yesterday to view the ongoing work to transform part of the hall into a HSE Covid-19 vaccination centre for the public.

The facility will have 30 vaccination booths, with the capability to operate seven days a week, delivering up to 2,400 vaccinations a day.

The facility is just one of a number of vaccination centres which will be established by the HSE across Cork in the coming weeks and months. Other potential centres are at varying stages of development.

During the visit, the Taoiseach reiterated that level 5 restrictions, or something similar, will continue beyond March 5, when the current restrictions are due to conclude.

He also said that there was no date currently being examined for hospitality to reopen.

Mr Martin said the vaccination rollout would run parallel with maintaining restrictions, adding that he is confident of an increase in vaccine supply by the second quarter of the year.

“We are in a confident position in terms of our capacity to vaccinate a critical mass of the population over the next number of months,” he said. 

“It is a key part of the battle against the virus.”

Mr Martin praised those behind the vaccine centre at City Hall and said it represents “a further stage in the battle against the virus”.

He said: “It represents a significant ramping up of preparations for mass vaccination of our population when additional vaccines arrive.”

Current vaccine supplies are directed to nursing homes, to healthcare staff, and shortly to the over-70s by GPs.

This centre, and others like it, will be available to vaccinate large numbers of people.

However, sites such as the one in City Hall will not be operational until vaccine supply allows for widespread vaccination.

The Taoiseach poured cold water on any possibility of reopening hospitality in the near future, but assured businesses that supports would continue.

“We will not be pulling the rug from any of those supports. There’ll be no cliff edge,” he said.

On emerging from Covid, he said: “We’re going to have to help the hospitality sector to reboot and restart.

“We will have to look at new initiatives to help the hospitality sector as it emerges out of Covid-19 because it has suffered more than most.

“If we’ve learned anything, the virus and hospitality are too compatible. We simply have to acknowledge that — but equally acknowledge that there’s thousands of jobs depending on it.”

Mr Martin said: “Last year we didn’t have a vaccine. This year we do. So, it makes sense as we roll it out to approach the next two months in particular with caution.

“As the vaccinations are rolled out, mortality will go down, severe illness will go down. And, as we vaccinate the more vulnerable, as we have been doing... we will be in a good space in a relatively short space of time.

“Why would we risk all that for the sake of a number of weeks?

Staffing vaccination clinics will not be an issue, Mr Martin has said, as “people have responded to the call”.

Retired GPs and medical practitioners, as well as nursing professionals in different capacities are understood to be some of those who have responded.

“There is a broad pool of people we can draw from,” Mr Martin said.

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